Dungeons & Dragons, 5th Edition, Thoughts So Far

Dungeons & Dragons Initial Thoughts

ArchwayWell, I’ve had a week to look through the Player’s Handbook so that I could learn the differences between the 5th Edition and my tried and true 2nd Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. I can say that some of the changes I really like. Others, I am not so certain of yet.

For instance, a number of items are simplified. The stats all have the same modifieds, the experience and level progression are the same for all character classes, and saving throws and ability checks have fewer rules and types. Some things such as advantage and disadvantage (where you roll two dices and take either the higher or lower of the two values) have a subtle brilliance to them.

Other items, like healing all your hitpoint damage after a “long rest,” or what is an 8-hour break, seems to be an over simplification. If you are cut up with slashes and punctures or your bones are broken, a night of rest won’t return a person to being whole again. There are other rules for getting back hitpoints for just an hour of rest. I understand the reasons behind such a change in the rules, it brings Dungeons & Dragons in-line with computer and console games of today where a health is relatively easy to recover. Playing out long days of slowly healing or having characters die frequently or having to constantly stop to use healing magic is not that attractive for some. I’m just not sure I like that change so much. Of course, as a DM, I could put in house rules to limit such healing if I wanted.

I will say I really do enjoy the changes to spell casting. In the earlier editions, you had to memorize a spell and then after you cast it, the spell was gone from memory until you rememorized it, which would take about 15 minutes per spell level. In the 5th Edition (and perhaps some of the ones between the 2nd and 5th) you now have so many “slots” you can cast. It allows spell casting to behave like having mana points that come back after a long rest. These types of changes are very similar to house rules I tried from time to time with my group when playing 2nd Edition, so I am excited to be able to utilize them.

What’s next?

Well, I still have a lot of spell changes to review. I’ve already noticed that some of the things that existed in 2nd Edition are different. To be able to manage a game as a DM, I’ll have to get a good understanding of all the spells.

I still need to get a better feel for non-weapon proficiencies and how they are different. In the 2nd edition, there were a large number of proficiencies broken out and after so many levels, you would get more of them. In the 5th edition, different character classes get different abilities as they go up levels. Depending on which “path” you choose at 3rd level for each class, you get different skills and abilities to choose from. These skills have more limited choices, but we never fully made use of all the non-weapon proficiencies in the 2nd edition, so this may not be a big issue.

For me, I need to start reading the DM’s Guide. There will be additional rules and further details on what I read in the Player’s Handbook. After I do that, I will look to join a 5th Edition group and perhaps convert some of the rules over into my 2nd Edition play as well. I’ll let you know how it goes.